In his first start for the Yankees, last Friday evening in Shea Stadium, Sidney Ponson was good if you didn’t look too closely. He threw six scoreless innings and emerged the victor in a game the Yankees won 9-0. But those were six rather dicey scoreless innings.
Through the first four innings of the Mets game, Ponson had put nine runners on base. He also struck out four and saw his defense turn a double play behind him. As I noted last week, Ponson was flirting with danger all night; the Mets just couldn’t bite.
Tonight, danger flirted back with Ponson in a big way. This time, Ponson managed to put 12 runners on base through four batters into the sixth inning. The Rangers, however, would not go down as easily as the Mets did. While the Yankee offense turned three double plays behind Ponson, eventually the Rangers broke through with a few runs in the third followed by a pair of two-run home runs in the sixth to chase Sir Sidney.
When that dust settled, Ponson’s tally on the evening was more in line with what we would have expected last week. He allowed 7 runs — all earned — on 9 hits and 3 walks. He struck out just one, and his ERA with the Yanks is now 5.77. He’s allowed 21 base runners in 11 innings.
In the end, Ponson’s pitching didn’t matter. The Yankees, as the narrative will have it tomorrow, responded to Hank’s threat and scored a season-high 18 runs on 16 hits, 7 walks and a few well-timed Rangers errors. They were aided by Ron Washington’s inexplicable decision to allow Warner Madrigal make his Major League debut in a one-run game against face Bobby Abreu, Alex Rodriguez and Jason Giambi.
When the dust settled, this game tonight was half of just what the doctor ordered. The Yanks hit .390 as a team tonight with six extra-base hits. But on the other side of the ball, it doesn’t appear as though Sidney Ponson will be the answer to the gaping hole in the Yankee rotation. I’m sure he’ll get one more start against the red-hot Rays on Monday, but the only thing we can count on with Ponson is base runners. The Rays will have lots and lots of base runners.